As you might have heard, I’ve been watching wrestling for a long time. It’s been over thirty two years and counting and I have no intention of stopping anytime in the near future. Wrestling has been one of the true constants of my life and I really can’t imagine ever stopping. It’s something I watch every day, far more than anything else really. I’ve seen wrestling from all around the world and love watching it still to this day. So why do I, or so many other fans, get so annoyed at it so often?
One of my other hobbies is reading, with a lot of biographies on my bookshelf. Lately I’ve been reading a book about the life of Dr. Seuss, who didn’t always write famous children’s books. Before he found his biggest success in his writing career, Seuss tries to write the Great American Novel. It didn’t work (as tends to be the case for everyone who tries), but as a writer, Seuss said “Everyone tries.”
Author Christopher Booker said that there are only seven kinds of basic plot structures in all of storytelling. While you can tell a lot of versions of the same thing, at the end of the day, you’re stuck working with those basic plot structures. You could probably add or subtract one or two, but in general, that is relatively true. Almost any movie, television show, novel or anything else functions off of those same ideas, including professional wrestling. That’s where we’re going today and it’s what ties these things together.
This week’s Monday Night Raw was absolutely dominated by Zelina Vega and her newly formed stable of Austin Theory, Andrade and Angel Garza. The trio, with Vega by their side, appeared in some form or another about half a dozen times over the course of the three hour show. That is a lot no matter how you look at it and at some point, anyone is going to get a little tired of seeing the same people over and over again throughout the night. I’m included in that and that’s where we pick things up.
Here’s the big ending:
During this week’s show, I found myself getting annoyed at Vega and company showing up over and over, often doing the same things again and again. There were multiple beatdowns, each including a hanging hammerlock DDT out of the corner. All three members of the team were in action and Vega was out there more often than not, in addition to appearing in multiple backstage interviews throughout the evening. It was something that happened over and over again, and as a result I was getting annoyed at what I was seeing.
But why? Was the show that bad? Were the segments that annoying? Is it that bad to have Vega, Andrade, Garza and Theory on the show so many times? They were telling a story and being built up all night, as the show headed towards a main event of Drew McIntyre vs. Andrade in a champion vs. champion match. In other words, while it might not have been the most interesting show in the world, it had a point and they told a story well enough. Yet I still got annoyed at the whole thing, despite it being something that a lot of fans are constantly asking for: coherent storytelling.
So what was so wrong with it? My best guess is that I didn’t like seeing something where I could guess where it was going. Earlier in the night, Seth Rollins had promised to attack someone to redeem himself for his WrestleMania loss. With just the main event to go, the story was clear: Vega and her team had been built up all night, they would have the main event, there would be some sort of a finish, and Rollins would get involved, either before the main event finished or just after it was over. That’s exactly what happened and it wasn’t like it was hard to figure out what was going on.
Rollins was going to get involved, which he certainly did:
That’s what seemed to get on my nerves: being able to see where things were going throughout the night. Since the show has been finished though, I’ve started to ask myself why that is a bad thing. Sure it was a story you could see coming (they flat out said Rollins was going to get involved before the end of the night) but what else did I want from the end of the show?
As mentioned, there are only so many stories that can be told. This is true in professional wrestling as well, where there is a limited number of ways to advance a feud. Rollins attacking McIntyre and wanting to get the WWE Championship back to redeem himself is something that has been told before, but that doesn’t make it a bad story. It makes it what WWE is trying to do at the moment. You can’t have some amazing, original, never before done story every time. A lot of promoters and companies try to do that, but almost no one can pull it off. As Seuss says, everyone tries.
At the same time, there is the issue of stories not being perfect. Over the years in wrestling (or almost any form of storytelling for that matter), there have been a small handful of stories that can be considered close to perfect. Even the all time great stories (the Border War, Austin vs. McMahon, the YES Movement, Honky Tonk Man’s Intercontinental Title reign) among a few others) have things that could have been done better. Maybe you say something different, maybe you book something in a different order or maybe something is just done with more quality.
The point is simple: there is no such thing as a truly perfect story, so why do fans expect one every single time? The Rollins/McIntyre/Vega N Pals story isn’t supposed to be some great, epic situation that is going to rewrite the history books. It doesn’t need to be because it almost can’t be. What it needs to be is what it is: a first feud for McIntyre as WWE Champion that can give him a big win over a credible challenger while fighting off some other people along the way.
This could be the start of something good:
In that regard, there is a good reason to believe that it can be a success. I’m sure that once it’s over, there are going to be things that could have been improved on, but that’s the case with every feud that has ever taken place. As fans, why do we need to get off on a bad foot and be annoyed at or write off a feud before it even gets the chance? Why be sick of something just because we’ve seen something similar before or because what we’re seeing isn’t perfect?
At the end of the day, wrestling stories are just like movies, novels, television or whatever else you care to name: almost everything has been done before and almost everything has been done better. What is the point of only accepting the best when you can get a lot more that is perfectly acceptable? If you wait around for the best of all time, you’re going to spend a lot of time searching, go through it one time, and then have nothing else to look for in the future. Why do that when you can have a bunch of very good and spend a lot more time going through them?
Wrestling fans have a reputation of being easily annoyed and constantly complaining. I’ve done it and so have a lot of other fans. That is the easy thing to do because as fans, we have a tendency to think everything should be perfect. While that might sound like a good idea, but it’s about as unrealistic as you can get. Enjoy what you have right in front of you, because while everyone tries to find the perfect one, there’s more company everywhere else.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!